The Costs of Neglected Children in a Market of Caring

Ida Schrøder

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskningpeer review


The main aim of the paper is to show how priceless children (Zelizer, 1994) are kept priceless, even though they figure as million kroner expenses in the spreadsheets of the local government. This is done by adding insights from the literature on managements accounting as a practice to the praxiographic
approach of Annemarie Mol (2002). By foregrounding the costing work done be human and nonhuman actors as a central activity (Miller and Power 2013) in child protection work this interdisciplinary approach exposes a different kind of economic exchange than what has earlier been studied.
The paper is based on one year praxiography of costing work related to a child protection department in a Danish local authority. A family (let’s call them the Jensens) was followed, as it moved through places where decisions were made about the future lives of the two children. Whenever costs showed up, I would find a way to follow them. This unfolded as situations as different as the constantly changing numbers of numerous spreadsheets on a computer screen to the devastated scream of a mother as she slams the door at the end of a meeting with her children’s case worker.
The paper argues that costing work takes many shapes. It, for instance, authorizes places and people to invest money in children in need of extra care. When made into a value, though, costs become opposite to caring. This doesn’t happen to the detriment of caring, as often claimed (Bracci and Llewellyn 2012). Rather, the separation is what allows for parents as well as case workers to be relieved from individually taking on the responsibility of the endless amounts of public money spent on child protection services. Thus an aim of the costing work is to maintain the children as priceless.
TitelAbstracts : Third Nordic Science and Technology Conference
Antal sider1
ForlagGöteborg Universitet
StatusUdgivet - 2017
BegivenhedThird Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference - University of Gothenburg, Campus Haga, Gothenburg, Sverige
Varighed: 31 maj 20172 jun. 2017
Konferencens nummer: 3


KonferenceThird Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference
LokationUniversity of Gothenburg, Campus Haga